As Ireland and much of the Southern U.S. have proven, it is possible for historically poor, underdeveloped areas to break out of their rut and develop proserous economies. They've done it largely through favorable tax regimes which attract investment; high spending on education, to improve the skills of the local workforce; and, above all, shaking off the fatalistic attitude that they'll be poor forever.
I think the (possible) parallels between Newfoundland and Ireland are particularly striking. They are almost mirror images in many ways, though these ways do not (yet) include economic development. Ireland took advantage of several factors to attract lots of American and other companies:
Of course, lots of places have the first three, it's numbers 4 and 5 that put Ireland (and could put Newfoundland) ahead of Cameroon and Estonia and Paraguay.
As I recall -- and Penny seems to agree, at least partially --, all Ireland had to do was cut taxes and regulations, and the foreign high-tech corporations started pouring in. It seems to me that Newfoundland is the Western Hemisphere's Ireland, and fulfills all five of the conditions listed. So why can't a similar takeoff be arranged?
I'm guessing that it's because of the one big difference: Ireland is an independent country and controls its own tax rates (though the EU is trying to change that). I suppose Newfoundland could cut provincial taxes and regulations, but there would still (wouldn't there?) be ridiculously oppressive national ones to worry about.Posted by Dr. Weevil at May 30, 2002 11:01 PM